You wouldn’t leave vacation days unused, working instead of taking off the time you’ve earned; however, working through lunch happens much too often. We’re constantly being asked to do more at work. Extra meetings. Extra reports. Extra paperwork. Eating lunch at your desk or worse yet, skipping lunch sometimes seems the answer to these extra demands, but there are plenty of reasons why eating at your desk is not a good idea.
- You may eat more. Mindless eating while working at your computer, staring at a screen, leads to overeating. You may be a master multitasker, but chances are you’re not paying attention to the amount of food you’re eating.
- You’re missing social time. Remember how much you enjoyed lunch in high school? It wasn’t because of the delicious cafeteria food. It was because you spent time with others. Eating with co-workers helps you make connections and breaks up the monotony of the day.
- You need to get up and move. It’s easy to sit in one spot all day working on that big project, but by eating lunch away from your desk you’re guaranteed a chance to get the blood flowing. Even if you just walk to the break room or cafeteria, that’s a start; and once you’re up and away from the desk, you’re more likely to take a real break.
- You need a brain break. A short break from your work routine gives you a chance to recharge and will improve your productivity.
And if these reasons haven’t inspired you to eat away from your desk, maybe this research by Charles Gerba at the University of Arizona will do the trick. He says that a desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet. This is mainly because food dropped on your desk during these eating episodes is never cleaned properly. Wiping with a napkin or damp paper towel doesn’t do the trick. Your desk is not a healthy place for a meal.
Take advantage of your lunch hour. What a joke! Make that your lunch break.
- Bring your lunch and eat mindfully so you enjoy your food.
- Eat with a friend or co-worker, at least once a week.
- Take a walk.
- Read a magazine if you can’t take the silence.
- Eat outside and enjoy the fresh air.
But please, don’t eat at your desk.
Taking some tips from The 4-Hour Body, I decided to concentrate on eating more filling lunches to avoid snacking later in the day. The author, Timothy Ferriss, recommends eating a few foods over and over instead of eating a wide variety of foods. He suggests that concentrating on a few foods makes maintaining a diet more manageable and we don’t really need variety anyhow. While I don’t agree completely, I do agree that simplicity helps me when preparing meals. That’s why I’ve relied on frozen meals or sandwiches for lunch, but I really do not enjoy sandwiches and who needs all that bread anyway. And why am I eating frozen meals when I’m at home? Couldn’t I just quickly whip something up?
Well, last week I found the answer to the simple lunch that I love to repeat. At my request, John cooked a couple of extra chicken breasts on the grill when he was preparing dinner last Sunday. Then on Monday I cooked some rice (Uncle Ben’s 90 second microwave since I didn’t plan ahead). I heated black beans, corn, 1/2 chicken breast, and mixed them with the rice. I added a little shredded cheese and salsa and viola! I created a delicious lunch. Best of all, I had plenty of leftovers to prepare the same meal Monday through Thursday.
I know Ferriss would not be happy with all of my food choices in this recipe. Yes, he loves beans and chicken, but rice is a definite no on his plan, and I’m not sure he’d approve of corn. However, this is my body – not his – so I get to modify any way I want. So here’s recipe for Dee’s Burrito Bowl.
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup shoepeg corn
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 chicken breast
2 Tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoons salsa
Measure rice, corn, beans, and chicken and place in a bowl. Heat in the microwave approximately 90 seconds or until warm. Sprinkle with cheese and salsa. Calories: 440 (I know that may seem like too many calories for lunch, but this is filling; and you won’t be tempted to snack later in the day.)
Substituting red beans for black beans or doubling the beans in place of corn may be good changes. I know what I’ll be eating this week for lunch – more burrito bowls!